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Why is my pet itching or licking so much? Our Tampa Bay veterinarian at River Mill Animal Hospital is here to help! Your pet may be suffering from allergies. Allergies are the number one condition that occurs in pets. Symptoms include ear infections, itching, redness to the skin, and hair loss just to name a few. Identifying the underlining allergy and eliminating or controlling it is the goal. The most common types of allergies are:

Food Allergy is a common allergy known to affect pets. The reaction is usually caused by the protein or carbohydrate source in the food. This is a hypersensitivity reaction when the immune system overacts and produces antibodies to the substance that it would normally tolerate. Although many pets will occasionally have stomach upset from something should not have eaten; pets with food allergies react with diarrhea, excessive skin irritation near the ears and anal area, and chronic ear infections. Food allergies are tested by feeding a strict hypoallergenic diet for three months and determining if the itching returns. A specially formulated hypoallergenic diet is prescribed, and owners are to eliminate all treats, table foods, and other diets during this process, in order to diagnose the condition.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis is the most common causes of skin allergy. Pets develop allergic reactions to chemicals in the flea saliva. The reaction causes redness, bumps, scabs, hair loss near the lower back, upper tail, and backs of the legs. As the pet itches secondary infections can develop due to yeast or bacteria. A flea control program is very important for these pets. Make sure all pets in the household are on flea control. If your pet is allergic to fleas it will only take one flea to cause an allergy flare.

Mange is cause by microscopic parasites that burrow beneath the surface of the skin. There are two types of mange, sarcoptic and demodex. Sarcoptic mange or Scabies feeds on material in and on the skin and is transmissible from pets to people. Demodex mange is caused by the pet's sensitivity to an overpopulation of the demodex mite which the immune system is unable to keep under control. This type of mange only affects the diagnosed pet. When a large number of mites invade the skin the hair follicles become inflamed, this leads to skin lesions genetic disorders, problems with the immune system and hair loss. A skin scrape test will be performed to help diagnose either form of mange. However, with scabies it is found 50% of the time and in order to rule it out as the case of the allergy we will need to treat for it.

Atopy or Atopic Dermatitis is an itchy disease in which there is an inherited tendency for your pet to have a sensitivity to common environmental substance: pollen, mold spores, dust mites, etc. It is similar to "hay" fever in people but as an allergic skin condition it causes the pet to itch. These substances are inhaled or absorbed through the skin. As the pet itches secondary infections develop due to the yeast or bacteria. These infections can cause an odor to the skin, flaking, scales, hair loss, redness and even pigmentation changes. Atopy cannot be cured, only controlled There are many treatment options to consider but in general it takes a combination of treatments to manage your pet's symptoms, and it may take several tries to get it right.

Watching your pet suffer through allergies can be miserable for you both! If your pet is itching, has redness, irritation to the skin, or chronic ear infections contact River Mill Animal Hospital today for an allergy consult with our Tampa Bay are veterinarian. We will develop a custom plan to STOP THAT ITCH!

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